PINEAPPLE SEASON GUIDE: GUIDE TO PICKING THE BEST PINEAPPLES

When talking about the pineapple season one of the many questions people ask is when are they ever in season. Good question. For Hawaiian pineapples, the main fruiting season is from April to May.

In the Caribbean it has two fruiting seasons December through February and August through September. In the US, it is available year-round but its peak season runs from March through July.

Pineapples are mostly associated with Hawaii because of the large pineapple industry that was built in Hawaii in the early 1900s. For a while they supplied over 80% of the world’s output of canned pineapple.

Finding that stately leaf-crowned prickly-skinned fruit with its luxurious, juicy sweet-sour interior is not as easy as checking for a good melon.

The pineapple offers few dependable outward clues to its inner condition even in its peak season.

There’s always a thin line between a perfect ripe pineapple or a too ripe one or one that is not anywhere close to ripe. When it is too ripe it becomes fragile to transport and a pineapple will never become any riper than it was when harvested.

Ask anyone who has eaten a freshly picked pineapple and they will surely tell you the difference with the imported one. It’s like the transportation takes away the taste.

That aside,

How do you tell if a pineapple is ripe?

You won’t go around cutting a slice to know if a pineapple is ripe before you buy it. Think of it as an introverted person, their outsides do not show anything at all and let’s not forget about their leaves that are kind of sharp.

Knowing how to tell is actually pretty simple. All you have to do is check these three things and you will get that perfect pineapple.

  1. The Color

When you think of the color you probably think of a greenish-yellow fruit but the exterior changes from a green-gray to yellow as it ripens so as a general rule of thumb the more yellow a pineapple looks on the exterior the riper the fruit is.

You need a pineapple that is consistently golden-yellow from top to bottom but not getting dark orange territory because that is on the over ripe side now.

Like I said earlier pineapples do not ripen much after being plucked from the tree which means that the greener less ripe ones you see at the grocery store won’t get more riper than that. Bummer!!

  1. The Feel

Despite them having spikes even while ripe you will have to get your hands on that baby and feel the texture which helps figure out if they are ripe or not.

The texture when ripe will feel soft when you squeeze it. Slightly soft is what you need to go for. A rock hard one is still not there yet.

When you squeeze it (Don’t over-do it or the grocery store manager will see you and force you to buy it) Softly squeeze it and if it has some give to it then it is ripe. The key here is to avoid a rock hard one.

  1. The Smell

This should have been the first because it is probably the one you already know. If the color and feel are good the give the pineapple a sniff.

If the bottom of it smells fruity and sweet and also considering that is has a bright color, that baby is good to go. But do take warning and get the difference between a sweet and funk/fermented smell, like vinegar. This is an indicator that it is overripe.

Savory pineapple recipes

We all know that pineapple is awesome for a pina colada and dessert but it could also be used to make that meal taste like you in some fancy restaurant on vacation.

It is great in savory recipes like quesadillas and tacos. The following are just some of the dishes you could try ot ad see if pineapples could be added in other recipes.

Pineapple chicken quesadillas

Sweet pineapple pairs perfectly with shredded chicken and gooey cheddar cheese

Ingredients

1/2 pound boneless

Skinless chicken breast Kosher or sea salt

Fresh cracked black pepper

Eight 8-inch flour tortillas 6 ounces cheddar cheese

Grated 1 cup diced pineapple

1/2 cup chopped cilantro

How to Make It

Step 1   

In a large pot, cover the chicken breasts with water. Bring to a gentle simmer and cook for 15 to 20 minutes, or until cooked through. Remove the chicken from the water and let cool. Cut the chicken into bite-size pieces, season with salt and pepper and set aside.

Step 2

Spread half of the cheese on top of 4 tortillas. Top with the chicken and the pineapple. Add a final layer of cheese and gently spread the filling evenly around each tortilla. Top with the remaining tortillas.

Step 3   

Heat a large skillet or griddle over medium-high heat. Place a filled tortilla on the pan, and cook the tortilla for about 3 minutes or until the bottom is golden. Carefully flip the quesadilla and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes until the second side is golden and the cheese is completely melted.

Step 4

Remove from the pan and repeat with the remaining quesadillas. Allow each to cool for a few minutes before cutting into 4 to 6 pieces. Serve with Salsa, guacamole and sour cream.

 BBQ Pork and Pineapple Stir fry

Sweet pineapple and tangy BBQ Chinese-style pork make for a grown-up version of a sweet and sour stir-fry.

Ingredients

1 Cup jasmine rice

2 Cups water

2 teaspoons vegetable oil

One 1-inch piece of ginger peeled and minced

3 cloves of garlic minced

½ pound store-bought cooked BBQ Chinese-style pork, cut into 1-inch pieces

¼ fresh pineapple peeled, cored and cut into 1-inch cubes

1 tablespoon soy sauce

¼ teaspoon chili-garlic sauce

How to Make It

Step 1  

Add jasmine rice and water to a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and cook, covered for 15 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat and let it sit, covered, for 5 more minutes.

Step 2 

Heat the oil in a large frying pan or wok over medium high heat. Add the ginger and stir-fry for 1 minute. Add the garlic and cook for 30 more seconds. Add the pork and the pineapple and cook until they are hot, about 2 minutes. Stir in the soy sauce and chili-garlic sauce.

Step 3 

Remove from the heat and serve immediately with the jasmine rice.

Health Benefits of Pineapples

  1. Pineapple is packed full of fibers, vitamins and minerals and contains an enzyme called bromelain. The fiber is an important component of a healthy diet that can help improve digestion.
  2. They also contain a good array of vitamins and minerals including calcium, manganese plus vitamins A and C as well as folic acid which all are very nutritious especially for children.
  3. It has also been linked to several benefits such as weight loss and treatment of inflammation. This is through the bromelain.
  4. Another amazing benefit discovered is that the bromelain in pineapples may have anti-cancer effects on colon cancer cells. Foods with bromelain are considered candidates for reducing risk of colorectal cancer.
  5. May also help treat arthritis and promote bone health.
  6. Bromelain also reduces the aggregation of blood platelets which may help treat acute thrombophlebitis. It may also break down the cholesterol plaques further promoting heart health.